Patent filling shows Hyundai is working on the implementation of touch-sensitive controls for the steering wheel.

We certainly don’t have something against cramming a lot of technology inside a car as long as it makes our lives better. This doesn’t seem to be one of those cases as Hyundai’s patent for steering wheel-mounted touch-sensitive controls previews a feature we wouldn’t want to have on our cars.

In general, touch-sensitive buttons are a bit annoying because in many cases these are not responsive enough. It’s not the end of the world to have these controls on a dashboard, but seeing them on the steering wheel is just something we would avoid.

Hyundai’s R&D department is doing just that, working on a way to put touch-sensitive controls on a steering wheel. This feature is mainly addressed to drivers wearing gloves that have a difficult time adjusting the car’s functions using the conventional buttons mounted on a steering wheel.

What Hyundai is researching is not exactly a big novelty since other automakers have done it already, including Toyota with its Prius as well as Honda with the latest Civic that has a capacitive-touch volume button on the steering wheel.

In addition, spy photos of the next-generation Porsche Panamera from the beginning of the year have shown the center stack is going to be packed with these buttons. However, that’s not going to be a big problem compared to having them on the steering wheel where a driver will accidentally hit these buttons once in a while.

A function to adjust sensitivity would probably eliminate most of the hassle, but even so we would still prefer physical buttons. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?


Hyundai patent for touch-sensitive controls on steering wheel